Occupational behaviors and farmworkers' pesticide exposure: Findings from a study in Monterey County, California

Alicia L. Salvatore, Asa Bradman, Rosemary Castorina, José Camacho, Jesús López, Dana B. Barr, John Snyder, Nicholas P. Jewell, Brenda Eskenazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Background: We studied the relationship between behaviors promoted through the US Environmental Protection Agency Worker Protection Standard (WPS) and other programs and agricultural pesticide exposures in 73 strawberry fieldworkers employed in Monterey County, California. Methods: Farmworkers' behaviors were assessed via self-report and organophosphorus (OP) pesticide exposure was measured using dimethyl alkylphosphate (DMAP) and malathion dicarboxylic acid (MDA) urinary metabolite levels. Results: Wearing WPS-recommended clothing, wearing clean work clothes, and the combination of handwashing with soap and wearing gloves were associated with decreases in DMAP and MDA metabolite levels. Despite these protective behaviors, however, participants had significantly higher levels of exposure as compared with a national reference sample. Conclusions: Interventions that facilitate compliance with these behaviors may be effective in decreasing fieldworkers' pesticide exposures. However, further efforts are needed to reduce the exposure disparities experienced by farmworkers and decrease the potential for "take home" exposures to farmworkers' families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-794
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • Clothing
  • Farmworker
  • Occupational behavior
  • Pesticides
  • Urinary metabolites
  • Worker protection standard (WPS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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